south beach diet vs keto

South Beach Diet vs Keto: Which Diet Wins? (Knockout!)

South Beach Diet Keto review: No doubt you’ve heard of the ketogenic diet, aka, “keto.” It’s all the rage right now, as this low-carb diet is helping thousands of people achieve inspiring, and sometimes dramatic weight results.

You might also notice that the principles of the keto diet are very similar to the South Beach Diet. In fact, the South Beach Diet has recently made all of its plans keto-friendly to more closely align with the basic principles of ketogenic diets.

So, what’s the difference between South Beach and the keto diet, and which one is better?

Here’s a word about keto, and what you should know if you are considering the South Beach keto-friendly diet:

South Beach Diet vs. Keto: About South Beach | What’s Ketosis? | Similarities | Differences | Compare Ratings | Coupons

About South Beach Diet (Now Keto-Friendly!)

The South Beach Diet is a keto-friendly diet centered around the monthly delivery of nutritional, pre-portioned meals to your door. Their food is high in lean protein and fiber which helps to keep you feeling full longer.

The program has 3 phases. The initial week-long Phase 1 is the most restrictive in an effort to break you of bad eating habits and encourage your body to make the switch from burning carbs to fat.

You can learn more about The South Beach Diet by reading our review or visiting

About Ketosis:

ketosis definition

“Ketosis” is the most important concept to understand with the keto diet, so here’s a quick overview of what ketosis actually is:

Normally your body uses carbs from food as its main energy source. When carbs are restricted, your body switches to burning fat for fuel instead, and in the process produces “ketones” for energy.

This fat-burning mode is called, “ketosis.” After cutting carbs, the metabolic state of ketosis usually takes about 3-4 days to achieve and often produces fast weight loss.

Positive side-effects of being in ketosis include:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Decreased appetite
  3. Increased focus
  4. More energy

*We should add that common negative side-effects of ketosis include bad breath and insomnia. (Well, at least no one else is awake to smell your bad breath!)

Anyway, while being in the state of ketosis is crucial to the keto diet, it isn’t crucial with the South Beach Diet. Here’s what’s similar and different about keto and the South Beach Diet:

South Beach Diet vs Keto: Similarities

Both the South Beach Diet and keto score highly for short-term weight loss, and low for long-term weight loss. That’s probably because both are relatively restrictive with what you can eat.

Do you love pasta? If so, these are probably not the diets for you, as Carb-restriction is central to both the South Beach Diet and Keto.

Keto and South Beach have a couple of important similarities. In fact, being on the keto diet is a lot like Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, which is lower in carbs and added sugar than subsequent phases.

funny keto meme bread cereal

Keto diets limit carbs to about 20-50 grams per day. Although most keto diets allow fewer carbs than South Beach, that number is in-line with South Beach’s “Keto-Friendly” plan, and the first phase of their regular diet. During Phase 1 of South Beach, you’re allowed up to 40 grams of carbs each day, which increases slightly to 50 grams per day during Phase 2.

*Consider that 2 slices of bread or a single apple both have 25g of carbs each, and a piece of pizza has 35+ carbs. The truth is that cutting carbs isn’t easy!

Another similarity is that on both Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet and Keto, you’ll want to avoid eating starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, etc) and whole grains, which are generally high in carbs.

But, aren’t veggies and whole grains good for you?

Yes, absolutely, but here’s the key to both keto and South Beach: you want to switch your body’s fuel source from carbs to fat, so any vegetables allowed will be of the non-starchy variety.

In order to do that, both keto and South Beach slash carb consumption so that your body turns to fat as a second option for fuel. I like to think of that process as, the big switch,” and it’s central to the success of both diets.

South Beach Diet vs. Keto: Differences

The original South Beach Diet, created by Arthur Agatston, American cardiologist, and celebrity physician, is a modified, low-carbohydrate diet, which is higher in protein and healthy fats than you might find in a typical diet.

Is South Beach Diet keto? That depends. The South Beach Diet allows more carbs and protein than a strict keto diet. That means that while you must be in the state of “ketosis” for success on the keto diet, you don’t have to be with South Beach.

However, both Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet and their Keto-Friendly plan reduce your daily carb consumption, which makes being in ketosis more likely.

Dietician, Courtney McCormick, from South Beach Diet said:

“The ketogenic dietary pattern is one that is low carb and high in high-quality healthy fats. The South Beach Diet aligns with this dietary pattern and we do not believe nutritional ketosis needs to be obtained to gain many of the benefits of a ketogenic dietary pattern for weight loss and overall health and wellness.”

Another difference between South Beach Diet and Keto is that South Beach is generally higher in protein than a strict Keto diet. While it’s true that too much protein can prevent ketosis, South Beach believes that it’s crucial to a healthy diet and building muscle mass.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Keto and South Beach is that the Keto diet welcomes all fats, while South Beach is more selective. So, for example, while Keto approves of an unhealthy, fatty food like bacon for its high-fat content, the South Beach Diet doesn’t.

ketogenic diet nutrition percentages

South Beach generally frowns on foods that are high in saturated fat, and instead encourages more healthy lean proteins from meats and other sources.

I’d summarize the difference between keto and South Beach by saying that keto is narrowly focused on weight loss results, while the South Beach Diet has a more holistic view of a person’s health. While keto drastically cuts carbs and allows fat for ketosis and dramatic short-term weight loss, South Beach has a bit more of a sustainable and healthy approach.

Compare Expert Reviews / Ratings:

U.S News recently asked a panel of health and diet experts to rank Keto and South Beach Diet on a number of important factors. Here’s how they compare:

keto vs south beach diet rankings

As you can see, experts rate Keto lower than the South Beach Diet. This is primarily because of two reasons:

  • Keto is a restrictive diet, making it harder to follow
  • Keto is not a healthy diet, especially long-term

Because of its narrow focus on short-term weight loss results over holistic health and wellness, most experts do not recommend keto. In fact, most commercial diets have moved more towards a more holistic approach, emphasizing “wellness” instead of weight loss as the main goal. That’s why Weight Watchers (deals here) changed their name to “WW,” and apps like Noom don’t mention the word, “diet” at all!

Actually, keto can be a harmful diet, especially if you are diabetic. If high levels of ketones develop, it’s dangerous. This can lead to health problems like ketoacidosis; a serious condition in which your blood becomes acidic. If you have diabetes, consult your physician before starting any diet, especially keto.

As you can see, health experts rate the South Beach Diet significantly higher than keto.

All South Beach Diet Plans Are Now Keto-Friendly!

south beach diet keto friendly plan

South Beach Keto-Friendly: If you like aspects of both keto and South Beach, you can learn more about the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly plan, which attempts to bring the best of both diets into one program.

• Are you in ketosis in the Keto-Friendly plan?

While the body should enter ketosis by staying at or under 50g of carbs a day, maintaining ketosis is not the focus of this plan. Limiting your carb intake during Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan should lead to significant weight loss, regardless of whether or not your body stays in ketosis.

On they state:

“Menu options that are designed to be included in a keto-friendly meal plan that delivers about 40-50g grams of net carbs per day. These meals are not intended to allow individuals to achieve or maintain nutritional ketosis.”

This approach is a significant difference compared to the keto diet, which generally views maintaining the state of ketosis as an integral part of the diet.

Conclusion – Keto or South Beach Diet: Which Is Better?

Keto and South Beach are both popular “heavyweight” diets that restrict carbs in an effort to lose weight quickly.

While they both score well for short-term weight loss, they fall short when it comes to keeping the weight off long-term. So, which diet wins in a head-to-head battle?

When it comes to keto versus the South Beach Diet, we have to agree with the experts’ conclusion that South Beach is a better diet than keto.

And, if you are looking to try keto, then the keto-friendly South Beach Diet is a good, less-restrictive way to do it:

However, that doesn’t mean that it’s the right diet for you. Keto is very popular because it usually leads to fast weight loss results. If followed properly, and for a short time, keto may work well as a short-term part of a larger plan to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

However, we can’t recommend strict a strict keto long-term, as it restricts important nutrients like good carbs and fiber that you should be getting daily from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

If you aren’t sold on the South Beach Diet, you can consider other popular meal-delivery diets like Nutrisystem, Diet-to-Go, and Medifast.

Ask your doctor before beginning any diet, especially keto. Thanks for stopping by Wonky Pie!